||07-31-2011 12:36 AM
there is a good, comprehensive checklist called "How to Make It Work - Tools for Healthy Polyamorous Relationships." The article is too long for me to post here, but I've posted the main points below, each of which are elaborated upon at length in the article.
I especially like this sentence: "Communication skills are what make a person a good lover."
I've only kept the first paragraph of each so that it will allow me to post it here - I encourage you all to go read the entire thing - it is very good. Enjoy!
How to Make It Work - Tools for Healthy Polyamorous Relationships
- Tell the Truth. Lasting relationships are built on trust. Trust is built on honesty. Honesty isn't hard and it's a good habit. Bite the bullet, tell the truth. If your relationship can't weather it, you are in the wrong relationship; but it probably can. Telling the truth is easier than lying, all rumor and myth to the contrary. Lies are a lot of work. They weigh you down and isolate you. Small lies get lonely and seek out bigger lies. Don't ask one lover to lie or keep secrets from others. Secrets may not be lies but they breed lies. Secrets build walls and discourage intimacy. Know the difference between privacy and secrecy.
- Know Yourself. This is the most important tool and sometimes the hardest to find. Spend quality time with yourself and find out what you're like. Most people never do. Learn to tell when you are moody or unreasonable or defensive or hyper-sensitive or blinded by New Relationship Energy. Know your limits. Discover where you could do better. Learn what's healthy for you and what's not. Figure out what your priorities really are. Learn when to take a walk and cool off.
- Take Care of Yourself. Work on you. "Grow your own garden in your own soul, don't wait for someone else to bring you flowers." Instead of looking to other people for validation or satisfaction or happiness, learn to make it yourself. This is a vitally important skill for living. You will always be at other people's mercy - until you learn to satisfy your own needs. Once you do, you gain a freedom and confidence that can never be taken away. You can meet people as equals and choose to enjoy each other instead of carefully exchanging needs in a scarcity-driven emotional economy. Ironically, people find this kind of independence very attractive.
- Take Responsibility. Own your feelings. No one can make you sad or angry or happy either, they are your emotions. They exist in your head and nowhere else. You own them. You. There are always choices. Accept that sometimes you feel good or bad for no reason at all - not because of the people or events in your life. When you make someone else accountable for your feelings, your disempower yourself.
- Encourage Growth. Remember to care about your lovers as human beings. Support them in advancing their careers, spiritual pursuits, educations and ambitions. At their own pace and in their own way. Help them to heal and understand themselves better. Encourage them to take time by themselves and give them the space they need. Help them cultivate strength. Ask them to do the same for you but tell them how; they can't read your mind. One way to encourage growth is to give those you love the freedom to love others.
- Respect. Respect is a form of love. Respect yourself, set limits and boundaries and respect those of other people. Know how and when to clearly say `no' and how to listen when others say `no'. Never tolerate abuse. You deserve better. Remember to be polite to your partners, they deserve it even more than the stranger down the street.
- Communicate. If you want a healthy relationship, strong communication skills are a necessity, not a luxury. Trouble usually starts when talking stops. Things come up all the time that have to be worked through patiently and lovingly, even when you're having a bad day. It gets easier over time, but it takes work and a willingness to break up scar tissue and tear down walls. Communication skills are what make a person a good lover.
- Attitude. Having tools isn't enough, you have to really want to use them. Ya gotta wanna. Your disposition will make it work or blow it. Find a way for everyone to win. Make important decisions unanimous. Shine a positive light on difficult situations too; many relationships wither from negative energy. Don't turn little things into big things. Look for solutions, not someone to blame. Practice tolerance, patience, flexibility, generosity, understanding, forgiveness. Learn to apologize. Laugh at yourself.